After a 35 year hiatus in her recording career, Vashti Bunyan returned to the recording studio for her followup to 1970’s Just Another Diamond Day. Impressively, while Lookaftering retains the innocent, wistful essence of Bunyan’s music, it’s different in feel than Just Another Diamond Day – that album carried the feel of a young, starry eyed hippie in 1970, while Lookaftering is the elegant sequel from an older, wiser woman. While it’s similar in tone to Diamond Day, with no drums and pretty woodwinds, the dominant instrument is often producer Max Richter’s classy piano.
The most memorable song is ‘Hidden’, with its pretty melody and Richter’s pretty piano. But Bunyan’s writing is solid throughout the disc, and Richter’s arrangements are excellent at adding melodic colour without dragging the album into mushy adult contemporary territory. The next generation of avant-folk musicians, inspired by Bunyan, like Joanna Newsom and Devendra Barnhart, also contribute to Lookaftering.
Lookaftering is an incredibly worthwhile followup album from an artist who probably wasn’t expecting the chance to ever make another record.